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The University of Southampton

Nick Johnson BA Philosophy

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Hi, I'm Nick Johnson and I studied BA Philosophy within Humanities at the University of Southampton.

For me Humanities is both intensely absorbing and rewarding.

I was born in Camden but grew up in Woodford Green, a small town on the outskirts of north-east London.

When I was 15 I bought a book called The Pig That Wants to be Eaten and 99 Other Thought Experiments by Julian Baggini. It’s a fascinating introduction to various philosophical problems and paradoxes and it really generated my interest in philosophy. Before reading the book, philosophy was something I was only vaguely aware of but thinking about some of the puzzles described spurred me on to explore the subject further.

Making the right choice

I had a family friend who read philosophy at Southampton and he strongly recommended the University. The prospectus interested me too but it wasn’t until my visit day and interview that I really thought to myself that I could live and study here. It was fantastic talking to some of the lecturers and hearing University stories from some of the current students.

Pursuing a passion

I’m studying single honours philosophy. While at sixth form, I did consider combining philosophy with English but eventually decided on straight philosophy. It is such a diverse and varied subject I knew there would be plenty to keep me interested on a single honours philosophy degree. I’ve never regretted this decision and would definitely recommend pursuing what you’re most passionate about.

Settling in to University life

The first few weeks here were an absolute blur! In the best possible way the time went by so quickly because there was absolutely so much to do. Living at University is completely different to life back home but I found it both so refreshing and invigorating. The freedom is definitely a difference!  Some parts were harder than others; learning to cook for yourself and general personal maintenance. You definitely become grateful for all the home luxuries, but it was made easy by the friendship group I found myself. I was surprised how easily I found a bunch of people so in synch with myself. I’m living with five of them now!

Rewarding discussions

For me humanities are both intensely absorbing and rewarding. The lectures always maintain something of interest and some of the books I’ve read have been inspiring. There’s a lot of independent study which can be tricky to get to grips with at first but I particularly love the group discussions and debates that occur. To talk with lecturers or fellow course mates really allows you to get to grips with the materials covered.

I was a part of the Bencraft JCR which is a group of second year volunteers who organise and help out the first year students at those halls. It was fantastic getting involved in Freshers' Week again and it was a great opportunity to meet plenty of fun-loving people. I’ve recently just returned from Amsterdam with my halls - it was certainly an experience!

Looking to the future

In studying philosophy, I understand that whilst the subject improves many transferrable work skills it doesn’t lend itself to a specific career. However I recently attended a Careers and Employability Service lecture dedicated to philosophy and possible careers and it was a truly valuable experience. I applied for a work experience placement in the summer with the University, to do with halls accommodation.

I think I’m planning to search for employment after my degree. I love philosophy and cherish my time spent here at Southampton and so am open to staying in education. However I feel that practical considerations will force me to look for a job. As much as I want to stay here, if I can look back on my degree and be completely satisfied with the experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve met I’ll be happy to move on. I’m determined to make the most of my time at University.

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